Monday, September 29, 2008

Erin Go Bra!

We went to South Dakota over the weekend to visit Jay's family. On Sunday, we were able to participate in South Dakota's first Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure with a lot of Jay's family members, including his Aunt Mary, who is a breast cancer survivor! Woo!

Jay's sister had the task of coming up with a good name for our team. She noticed that a lot of the team names, like everything else in the world these days, were centered around breasts. There was "The Breast Team Ever" and my absolute favorite, "These Boobs Were Made For Walkin'". We also saw a group of women wearing t-shirts that said, "Save the Ta Tas" and a group of fraternity guys wearing shirts that proclaimed "PHI DELTS (HEART SYMBOL) BOOBS!"

I'm sure their love of boobs is purely scientific.

Anyway, since everyone on our team is Irish, the name of our team was "Erin Go Bra". Heh. Erin Go Bra did very well, in that everyone crossed the finish line eventually. Here is a photo I took from the very back of the crowd as we finished. Those of you familiar with Vermillion will recognize the luxurious Prairie Inn as we make our way to the Dome:

I decided that if I ever get a team together for a myeloma run/walk, the name of our team will be "The Dexy Midnight Runners."

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Cycle 17

Land sakes, it's a litter of stray Revlimid pills on my doorstep! Shoo, pills! Shoo!

Stay away from Supergirl

On Tuesday, WCK accidentally brought home the wrong artwork from preschool. The picture she brought home actually belonged to a girl I'll call "Supergirl". We knew that it belonged to Supergirl, because she had clearly written HER OWN NAME across the top of the paper. In addition, she'd colored everything on the page very neatly inside the lines.

Jay and I stared at this paper in wonder. We could not believe someone in WCK's class could write her own name. Is this the norm? WCK will usually make one teeny mark on a piece of paper and claim that it's a tree, or the letter A, or a kitty, or a dinosaur. Some days she acts like she doesn't even know her own name. "My name is Mr. Stinky Feet," she'll tell us. (Other days, her name could be Pooh Bear or Owl or T-Rex)

This morning when I dropped off WCK, I mentioned to the teacher that we had Supergirl's artwork in the backpack. "You know," I added, "the Supergirl who can WRITE HER OWN NAME."

The teacher explained that Supergirl is much older than the rest of the children. She must have a birthday right after the Aug. 1 cutoff. This had me feeling much better, until I realized that I'm going to have to keep WCK away from Supergirl in the years to come. You know, Supergirl is going to be the first one in her class who can drive all of her classmates around in a car, or buy tickets to R-rated movies for everybody, or be the designated beer-buyer in college.

Now that I think about it, several of my friends in high school had fall birthdays. Maybe that's why I hung out with them.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


M-spike is up to 1.7. Not a huge deal, but it was 1.5 in July and 1.6 in August, so it is very slowly clawing its way back up. My IgG is back above 1600, too, which is back above normal. I'm still not going back on the dex this month, though, even though I obviously need it to keep Spike from crawling upward.


Friday, September 19, 2008

This is only a drill

A couple of weeks ago, WCK's school had a fire drill. The teacher told me the drill made WCK a little bit nervous and that she cried (WCK cried, not the teacher. Although if I had to be in charge of 18 three-year-olds, I'd probably cry a lot. And drink.).

When I picked WCK up on Tuesday, the teacher told me that they had another drill, and that WCK cried again. This one was a "shelter in place" drill. I'd never heard of this before. Back in my day, we only had two kinds of drills: Fire drills (everyone went outside) and "disaster" drills (everyone went into the hallway). I think the disaster we were officially preparing for was a tornado, although I suppose a school hallway can protect from a wide range of disasters -- nuclear war, swarms of locusts, bear attacks -- so they didn't want to label it for just one particular disaster. I remember we always had to take our math books with us during disaster drills. The theory was that if debris started to rain down on us, we'd put the math books over our heads and be protected. This was either a really dumb plan or math books were made out of heavy-duty materials in the '80s. I'm not sure.

Anyway, WCK's teacher explained that a shelter in place drill is in case "someone gets into the school who is not supposed to be there, and we have to call 911." I'm guessing that "someone" = "gun-toting maniac". Later, I Googled "shelter in place" and found the same drill can be used in case of chemical attacks by terrorists. Nice. Either way, the kids all go into the bathroom together, close the door, turn off the lights, sit on the floor and "hide".

I can't say that I blame WCK for crying over this one. I mean, I'm glad --very glad -- that the school has a plan to protect my child, but knowing that that it's necessary for three-year-olds to have to prepare for these kinds of things makes me want to start crying myself. Maybe WCK wasn't crying out of fear: She was presenting a moving commentary on today's society. Cry away, WCK. Cry away!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Yet another reason why cancer is tough

I already have my six-month Mayo checkup set up for late November. In general, this is a good thing. However, today I opened up my mailbox and found ...

(Dramatic pause)

A fresh Pee Pod.


Monday, September 15, 2008

Why it's tough to be a 30-something cancer patient: Reason #234

OK, I know there are a lot of reasons why it's tough to be a cancer patient and a) I haven't had to face very many of them and b) the following complaint is probably the least of any cancer patient's worries, but I'm going to complain anyway.

When you're a cancer patient in your 30s and you have to take your kid with you to your checkup, there are no toys to play with in the oncologist's office.

This is understandable. When I look around the waiting room, I estimate the average age of the other patients to be about 80-ish. Once in a while, you'll see a baby who is there to wait for Grandma (or, from the looks of it, Great-Grandma), but most of the time you hardly ever see any kids.

I took WCK with me to my appointment today. Don't get me wrong; she was very well behaved, I don't think she's too scarred for life from watching them draw my blood, and everyone seemed just tickled to see her. Dr. GPO even brought her a granola bar and a bottled water from the vending machine. That's probably the most kid-friendly snack at the Cancer Center; it's not like they give out lollipops to their patients. Now that I think about it, though, maybe they should.

Still, it's tough to sit in a completely toy-free environment for two hours when you are three, so I brought along an enormous tote bag filled with books, toys, and snacks. The nurse thought my bag was hilarious. WCK did play with all of the stuff I brought, and then we ended up looking at pictures of animals in a National Geographic. WCK saw a photo of a chimpanzee throwing a rock and declared, "THROWING ROCKS IS NOT NICE!" I guess she has been listening after all.

Anyway, my CBC looked OK, except for low white cells. Dr. GPO was positively giddy over last month's results, and he said I have the lowest Beta-2 Microglobulin he has EVER SEEN. Cool.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Back in the Dark Days of Dex, I'd usually end up having to go grocery shopping on Dex Day or Dex Crash Day. This probably wasn't the best plan, but it's usually how things worked out. I'd be staggering around Hy-Vee, struggling to get my brain to function, wishing I could just stop and lie down next to the cart for a minute. I always felt like people were staring at me like I was insane. It's not like other people could look at me and understand my situation. I don't look like I'm a typical cancer patient. There were times I wished I had a giant sign taped to my body that said, "I'M ON CANCER DRUGS AND MY BRAIN DOESN'T WORK RIGHT NOW! PLEASE BE NICE TO ME!"

I don't want sympathy. I just want people to know why, on dex days, I have to stare blankly at the Ziploc bag display for, like, ten minutes before I can pick the one I want.

Today at Hy-Vee, I passed a woman who didn't look anything like a cancer patient, either, but she was wearing this shirt:


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Two months to go ...

This month's New Kids tribute comes with exciting news: I've succeeded in brainwashing my child and making her almost as dorky as I am. Someday she's going to realize what I've done and refuse to come home for family Thanksgivings.

WCK is highly suspicious of any CD that is not Mr. Stinky Feet. I tried to sneak my New Kids on the Block CD into the car CD player without her noticing. (This would be the harmless "Greatest Hits" CD, not the raunchy new CD, which would probably be more brain-damaging than Dr. Laura) WCK, of course, saw what I was doing.

"Mommy," she said irritably, "is that New Kids on the Block?"

"Just give it a chance," I told her.

She listened quietly for a minute.

"I want it louder," she said. That's my girl!

When we got into the car the next morning, she said, "I want the one that goes, 'Oh, oh, oh, oh.'"

Hmm. This narrows it down to about 99 percent of the songs on the CD.

"The one that goes, 'Ooooh, baby'", she added.

Again, "Oooooh, baby" does not narrow it down.

I finally figured out that she wanted "Step by Step". I cranked it up, and off to preschool we went. Enjoy:

Sunday, September 07, 2008

I know you're all dying to know ...

The song "Sexify My Love" from the new NKOTB CD is everything I had hoped for and more. What can you say about a song that finds two words to rhyme with "consummate"? OK, technically, I don't think "conversate" (as in, "to have a conversation") is a real word, but then again, neither is "sexify."

And the portion of the song about, um, consummating on the hood of a car? PURE POETRY!!

P.S. After Jay found out I bought not one, but two NKOTB CDs, he told me I'm not allowed to make fun of anything dumb he buys ever again. Maybe he has a point.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

No more Republican radio!

I have something new to listen to in the car. My NKOTB CDs finally arrived! I ordered them online to avoid the shame of actually going into a store and buying them out in public. Yes, I was worried a Wal-Mart cashier would laugh at me. That's how embarrassing it is to buy New Kids on the Block CDs when you are 33 years old.

And, yes, that's CDs, plural. In addition to their new CD, I also ordered their "Greatest Hits" CD. I have to say, IT IS AWESOME.

Don't judge me.

Prairie Home Obama?

WCK is obsessed with Barack Obama. I SWEAR she came up with this obsession on her own, although I don't expect anyone to believe me.

About a month or two ago, she pointed at the newspaper one morning and told me to "find Obama." I found a photo of him and set it next to her plate, and she ate breakfast while gazing at him lovingly. Now we have to find him every morning or she won't eat. One day there wasn't a photo of Obama anywhere in the paper, so I gave her a Garrison Keillor column with his photo above it. She enjoyed that just as well.

There have been rough mornings: Once I couldn't find Obama OR Garrison Keillor, so she had to look at a banana from a Hy-Vee ad.

Today, though, the opinion page had a photo of Obama AND Garrison Keillor, and she was practically vibrating with joy.

I found out there's a Democratic Party headquarters right by our house, so I took WCK over there to get a sign for our yard. I also bought WCK a big button with a picture of Obama on it, thinking she'd be thrilled. We got into the car, and she studied the button.

"Can I get a Garrison Keillor button instead?" she asked.


Friday, September 05, 2008

Scientific American

WCK's new favorite TV show (at least for this week) is Sid the Science Kid:

It meets all of the criteria for a good show: It's really cute, it's highly educational, it's fairly non-annoying, and it keeps her attention long enough for me to go take a shower. I'm also grateful that her favorite show (at least for this week) is no longer Dragon Tales. That show gives me the creeps. Look how creepy:

Anyway, every episode of Sid covers a different scientific topic, such as how to use a magnifying glass (which WCK calls a "magazine-fying glass"), how to make a chart, how to measure things, and so on. A couple of days ago, the topic was estimating. Sid had a big jar of sea shells, and he learned how to accurately guess how many were in the jar without actually counting them. (Exactly how he did this, I'm not really sure. I was in the shower.)

After WCK watched this episode, she walked up to a big basket filled with her shoes and said, "I don't know how many shoes I have. I am going to make a guess."

She guessed 14. I counted the shoes and -- my child is a GENIUS -- found there were 15. Of course, this finding leads to many more scientific questions:

1) Why do we have an uneven number of shoes?
2) Why does my three-year-old need seven and a half pairs of shoes?
3) Why?
4) No, really, why? There is only one pair that she will actually wear. Two if you count the Ruby Slippers she uses for dress-up.

I plan to fully investigate the answers to these questions ... as soon as I get out of the shower.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

And now for a really sweet story

Because I defiled my blog with a photo of Dr. Laura, I thought I'd freshen things up by telling a nice story.

When Jay leaves for work every morning, WCK likes to run to the dining room window and wave to him as he drives off.

"Goodbye, Daddy!" she always yells. "WE LOVE YOU!!"

This morning, she was waving, as usual, but Jay was preoccupied with an enormous school bus zooming down our street, and he didn't wave back. WCK was so involved with her own waving and yelling that she didn't seem to mind. After he drove away, we went into the living room to play for a few minutes before preschool. We were finishing up a Pooh Bear puzzle when the doorbell rang.

It was Jay. He drove all the way back home and came to the door in the pouring rain, because he realized he forgot to wave to WCK.

So he got back into his car and re-enacted leaving for work, and this time he waved.

"Goodbye, Daddy!" yelled WCK. "WE LOVE YOU!!" (Thoughtful pause) "AGAIN!!!"

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Maybe it comes to life at night and kills you ...

One of my secret guilty pleasures is listening to Crazy Republican AM Talk Radio in the car. I find it really entertaining to listen to completely insane people. I also get a little adrenalin rush when I get mad at them. My absolute favorite has to be Dr. Laura, who rates an 11 on the 1 - 10 Insanity Scale. Sadly, I had to give up Crazy Republican AM Talk Radio when WCK got to be about a year old and started to really comprehend speech. I started to worry that she would end up with brain damage.

Yesterday I was running errands during preschool and I realized I was alone in the car at last! I could bring back Crazy Talk Radio!

When I got home, I checked Dr. Laura's web site to find out when she is on in Kansas City. Sadly, she doesn't come on until noon, which is after preschool drive time. On the plus side, I was able to read a really nice article she'd written called "Preschool is Bad for Children", and I also discovered that one can purchase ... a Dr. Laura action figure:

Oddly, the plastic doll looks more lifelike than the actual Dr. Laura.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Dex update

I just realized I didn't post an update about the dex. The nurse never called me back about it, which, in this case, is FINE. My results were stable -- at least stable enough that going dex-free for four weeks wasn't going to harm me. Dr. GPO knew this was my plan, anyway. So I went ahead and stopped the dex.

Maybe that's why I haven't had time to post an update: I've been living my glorious dex-free life! I guess it's pretty much the same as my dex-filled life, only I'm much more of a joy to be around on Sundays.